. Saturday, October 19, 2019 .

Vincent and I decided to go on a date this weekend and go raspberry picking, which neither of us has done before. It was an incredibly relaxing and fun experience. If you ever have a chance to pick raspberries I highly recommend it!

We went to a place in CT called Bishops Orchards, which has a lot of fun things to do. They had a pumpkin patch, apple picking, an ice cream shop, and a farmers market as well! As we walked through the parking lot I could smell fresh popcorn being popped right outside the entrance to the market.

The raspberry fields were about a half a mile away from the shop location, so we hopped in the car and headed there. I noticed that there were not many people picking raspberries, only about 4 or 5. There also weren't many people speaking, and I soon discovered why.






Raspberry picking is a silent, simple type of fun. Vincent and I barely spoke as we walked around to each bushel, lifting up leaves and plopping a raspberry or two into the bucket he held.

It might be a bit difficult for kids to join in on the fun because raspberry picking, compared to apple picking, is a bit more specific when it comes to what should or should not be picked.

Instinctually, I wanted to pick the darker colored raspberries, but I was informed by a sign outside that the best ones are the ones that are lighter pink in color, rather than a plum or dark red.

Raspberry bushes are quite thorny, so when you go picking try to wear some light gloves or use your sleeves to lift up leaves and pick them.





I got this black pageboy hat from Shein this week and I'm in love with it! The brown dress I'm wearing is also from Shein. I'm debating making a full outfit post about what I received, but I'm not the best at taking 'fashion' type photos.

In the end, we picked just under a pound of raspberries, and we spent the car ride back to the orchard discussing what we should do with them. Vincent just wants to eat them as they are, but I think I could make a yummy tart from them.


We did a small food shop in the market and then decided to stop for some ice cream before heading home. There were so many things to buy in the market, I wish I could shop there every time I needed food. I will say that the total was a bit expensive, but a lot of the goods we picked up were homemade or specialty items so it's to be expected.

Speaking of specialty, I picked up this incredible looking rainbow donut for only 99 cents, as well as some hot apple cider. The donut didn't taste any different than a normal donut, but it looked amazing! I kept staring at the inside every time I took a bite. As for the hot apple cider, it did make me a target for bees, but it was delicious!


 

When I finally got around to getting ice cream, I was so overwhelmed by all the different flavors. I didn't make my mind up until I was standing right at the register. I had originally wanted to get cake batter, which is what I always get when I have ice cream anywhere, but I took a chance and tried one of their new fall flavors.




It had chocolate caramel pieces mixed into vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl. It was delicious! I took a bite of it and then immediately thought "Oh my gosh... I have to take a photo." so I swung it around so you can't see my bite mark! haha

I'm debating coming back next weekend with some friends so we can all enjoy the fall season. If you are in the area, please head on over to Bishops Orchards and try any one of their awesome ice cream flavors. They are all homemade!

Thank you very much for reading, see you next time~

. Thursday, October 10, 2019 .


A little over a month ago I decided to take the plunge and get a keratin treatment. My hair has been notoriously frizzy and unruly, but I was hesitant to part with my signature waves. When I did research into various keratin treatments I saw a lot of conflicting information online, so I thought it might be helpful to write a short post about what I learned from doing a keratin treatment and how I feel it's affected my hair overall.

Will a keratin treatment damage my hair?


This was the first thing I searched when I became interested in the procedure. If you search this question on Google you'll find a lot of conflicting answers about whether the Keratin actually helps your hair or hurts it.

I've seen a few articles that say that the keratin treatment actually makes your hair stronger and healthier and that the more you do it the stronger your hair will become. In the same vein, I've also seen articles that say that a keratin treatment is super stripping and damaging for your hair.


To this day I'm not completely sure whether or not it hurt my hair or damaged it in any way. I will say, just by feeling the overall texture of my ends, my hair seems to have been infused with more moisture and not as dead feeling as it used to be.

This being said, I can't tell what kind of breakage might have ensued from using the chemicals that are part of the keratin treatment process.

If you have really damaged hair I would definitely suggest talking to your hairstylist before at a consultation to see if this will be the right procedure for you.

In my case, my hair had been dyed and bleached many, many times and the treatment worked pretty well for me without any noticeable damage or hair loss.

How long do the results last?


Depending on what type of keratin treatment you get the results will last a different amount of time. For the particular treatment that I chose, I was told that it would last about four months if I took care of it properly and used the proper keratin shampoo and conditioner.

In my opinion, after about 2 weeks I was unsure if I could really tell that I had a keratin treatment. My hair was feeling hydrated, but the moisture I felt in my hair I felt I could get from an argan oil hair mask, rather than paying $175 for a hair smoothing procedure. In the first week or so I was very impressed with the keratin treatment. 


My hair was smooth, shiny, and retained some of that straightness I desired. Even after I showered I found that my hair would not frizz up when it was really humid outside. However, after about a month my hair felt almost back to normal. It was less frizzy than before but not to a degree where I thought "Wow, this was worth the money I spent." 

I think that the results also depend on your original hair texture, but for me, it didn't last nearly as long as I expected it to even though I was only washing my hair once every four days or so.

Will a keratin treatment make my hair straight?


NO. It will not. 


When I arrived at the salon to get my keratin treatment, I told my stylist how excited I was to finally have straight hair. She quickly informed me that the procedure would only make my hair more smooth and soft, it wouldn't actually make my hair straight for the long-term. 

She said it would look straight when I left the salon that day because she had to blow it out, but that straightness would not last very long and that my original hair texture would come back pretty quickly. I walked into the salon that day expecting to have straight hair for the next four months so when I heard that I was really disappointed.



If you're like me and you expect this treatment to make your hair somewhat straight, I'll be the one to inform you that that is not going to happen.


I will say that the frizziness definitely improved but my hair returned to its natural wavy state after two washes.


The Lux Treatment


I also received another hair treatment courtesy of Garden NYC Salon in exchange for some hair modeling. I've never done hair modeling before but I can tell you that I would 100% do it again.

I believe the name of the treatment I received was called the Lux Treatment and it originates from Japan. Essentially, this treatment is a keratin treatment without the use of formaldehyde and various bad-smelling chemicals. 

It's touted as a more natural alternative to frizz-free, shiny hair. I will put out a disclaimer and say it is not a straightening treatment, it's a smoothing treatment. I decided to give it a go since I didn't really like the results I had for my keratin treatment earlier.

This is my hair one day after receiving the treatment and (yes) it is pin-straight but I don't expect it to be straight once I wash my hair. 



Compared to the keratin treatment, the softness that I feel in my hair currently is almost wig-like. My hair feels so silky it's almost unreal.

Since I received this procedure for free I can't really say for sure whether or not I would get it again if I had to pay full retail price, but I definitely want to see how this treatment ages compared to the Keratin I received before and see which one I like better.

Overall, I'm excited to see what direction my hair takes with all these treatments happening. With all the smoothing treatments I get, I start to appreciate my natural wave more and more. It's fun to have my hair straight for a little while, but I think my waves really make me feel like me :)

In the future, if I do anything else with my hair I'll be sure to provide updates on how the Lux Treatment ages. For now, thank you for reading, and I'll see you in the next post!

. Sunday, September 29, 2019 .
The end of September is upon us! 
yes, my hair is black now. how do you like the change? :)

Autumn is my favorite season, so every year when I see the leaves change it brings back a lot of wonderful memories as well as some bad ones. 

In particular, October is a really difficult month for me. I may have spoken about it a bit in the past but October is the month where I've had some of the best and worst things happen. In this way, autumn reminds me not only about where I've been but all the things that I have now in the present.

Things are always changing and life has been a series of really big changes for me lately. With the cold weather moving in, I feel like slowing down, getting cozy, and re-evaluating what's around me.

It's the season of feeling grateful, hence Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of fall and appreciating the present, here are some of the things want to do this season. 

Included is a song I've been listening to on repeat that I really feel encapsulates the essence of fall vibes. Enjoy and feel free to listen to it as you read on! x


Fall Bucket List:

I'll do my best to try and check everything off the list. I have a wonderful hot cocoa collection I was gifted earlier in the year so maybe I'll fulfill that one very soon. I have my Halloween costume picked out and ready to go in my closet, so I'll be sure to post about that. I'm a bit old for trick or treating though! 


🍁 Drink hot cocoa
🍁 Sit in front of a fireplace
🍁 Go to a pumpkin patch
🍁 Ride on a hayride
🍁 Dress up for Halloween
🍁 Make pumpkin cinnamon rolls
🍁 Jump in a pile of leaves
🍁 Try to catch a falling leaf
🍁 Do a fall-inspired eyeshadow look
🍁 Paint my nails a fall color
🍁 Watch some spooky films
🍁 Drink apple cider
🍁 Have a fall photoshoot with friends

Spooky Movie Bucket List:

If I actually manage to watch all these movies, I'll feel pretty proud of myself. I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies so I've included mostly 'mild' spooky and autumn-themed films.


🕷️ Beetlejuice
🕷️The Addams Family
🕷️ Halloweentown
🕷️ The Nightmare Before Christmas
🕷️ Hocus Pocus
🕷️ The Craft
🕷️ Coraline

Fall Fashion Moodboard

 



Thank you for reading! x 

I am going to try out a new blogging style in which I write shorter blog posts more frequently to get me back into the swing of blogging a few times a week. I hope you enjoy it :) 

. Monday, August 26, 2019 .


If you're looking to take the JLPT in December of this year and are not sure when signups open, I'll be the first one to break it to you: it's today!


This morning at around 9 am the signup portal for online registration opened, and I committed to taking N2! I am beyond nervous, excited, scared, and a mix of 10 other emotions.

If you're curious about how to sign up while living in the United States, I've put together this guide on how to do so!

Visit the AATJ website.


The American Association of Teachers of Japanese hosts the web portal for the US sign ups. You can find the website here. 

This page has information about when the test will be, as well as the test sites throughout the United States. 


Please click the link in the box to be sent to the account registration and payment portal.


Sign up for an account



In another tab, this link will open up to reveal the account creation and registration page. At this point, you can click the registration button to create your JLPT account. Please enter all your information and at the end, you will be led to the payment processing page.


This registration process requires you to answer some questions, such as 'Where did you learn Japanese?' and 'Have you taken the JLPT before?'. They will also ask some questions regarding when you use Japanese, and there are a few options to choose from. Essentially they ask about a variety of situations and if you read, write, speak or listen in Japanese. Options include but aren't limited to work, family, friends, and school. 

If you need your JLPT scores for any reason, like for a job or to get into a school in Japan, they will also as that as well during the registration.

Please note they will ask you for a special code, called your Passcode, which you will need to access your scores later. Please don't forget this code!

Receive your confirmation email


A few minutes after you sign up and complete your payment, you will receive an email to the address you provided from the email address jlpt@aatj.org. 


This will show you all the details you have selected as well as give you a receipt. This email will not have the details about where your test is exactly located, just the city you provided.  Please check the AATJ website for information about the testing center. Right now the testing centers still reflect last year's test and this announcement is listed:

Updated Test Site Information for 2019 at all test sites will be posted in October.


I hope this was helpful! Best of luck signing up for the test, and study hard!

. Sunday, July 14, 2019 .

If you recently become interested in learning a language, you may be surprised when I tell you that Instagram can be a great tool to help you study new words in a visual way. If you are the type of learner that likes to see pictures and word associations, Instagram can be a great resource for finding new words in context and building a small community of language learners.



A few weeks ago I started a Japanese language learning Instagram account called @japanesewith alice. I made this account specifically to document my progress studying for the JLPT N2. I regretfully do not have a lot of old notebooks or papers from when I first started learning Japanese and so I wanted a way to track the progress I'll be making as I prepare for this exam.

I also use my Instagram story as a daily resource for posting the points I get on Memrise while doing reviews and learning new words.

Here's how I use Instagram to study Japanese (this could be adapted to fit any language)

Create content in your target language



When I learn new words on Memrise, I like to take a view of the words and make some visual content with them for my Instagram. I'm trying to get into the habit of taking photos of my study sessions as well as use the caption of each photo to use my target language.

Follow those who speak your target language natively



I don't follow very many accounts on Instagram in Japanese as of current. I try to follow content that is both interesting to me and simplistic enough that I can pick up vocabulary words in context without using a dictionary to look things up. 

Essentially, whatever your interests are in your native language can be used as learning points in your target language. If you enjoy fashion or nail art, try to look up those things using your target language as a hashtag and see what accounts you can follow.

Follow those who are learning your target language


In the same way, you should definitely be following other people that are alerting your target language to form a sort of community on Instagram.

The more friends you have, the more motivation to work on your Instagram and make more posts about language learning! It's especially fun and rare when you come across an account that is at a similar learning point in your target language.

Use the hashtag #langexchange or #languageexchange to find others that may be interested in learning your native language.

Use Instagram Stories 


There is some daily content that you may be able to post on Instagram stories that can help motivate you and keep your followers engaged, and that is an Instagram Story! Instead of making a post every day, I use Instagram stories keep track of my daily flashcard review progress so that I can say that all my reviews are done and semi-brag about the streak that I'm keeping. 

I like to hashtag these posts with whatever app I'm using for flashcards (Memrise) so other people using Memrise can add me! If you're lucky, the developer of the app might even like or repost your story.

Use Hashtags



In order to gain visibility for your page, you're going to need to put some hashtags on your photos. These allow Instagram users to find the content you're making. If someone is interested in looking at vocabulary lists and you've just created one, make sure you hashtag your post with #vocabularylist or #Xlanguagevocabularylist. 

If you're preparing for an exam, include the name of it as well! 

Here's a list of hashtags find useful for making future posts (feel free to swap the word Japanese for your language's name):

#japanese
#japan
#nihongo
#nihongolearning
#nihon
#learningjapanese
#jplearning
#languagelearning
#learningjapaneselanguage
#日本語
#日本語勉強
#JLPT
#JLPTN2
#japaneseculture


I hope these tips are helpful! If you have any Instagram accounts in Japanese to recommend, I'd love to hear about them in the comments. As always, thanks for reading :)